Born into a jazz-loving San Francisco family, Haskell soaked up the sounds of Duke Ellington and Count Basie from the record collection of his father. After a few years playing blues, Haskell fell in with a succession of exceptional pianists based in the Bay Area, including Yugoslav-raised Larry Vuckovich, Smith Dobson, and Larry Dunlap.
In 1977 Haskell launched his own combo, honing a book of intricate, rock-tinged compositions. When he wasn’t leading his own band, Haskell often worked with keyboardist Jeff Lorber and harmonica ace Mark Ford. Playing with Ford’s band gave Haskell the opportunity to share stages with blues and R&B institutions like Muddy Waters, Albert King, and Tower of Power. Around the same time, a call from organ star Merl Saunders led to a gig backing soul singer Randy Crawford on the Crusaders’ 1980 national tour.
By the mid-80s, Haskell decided to parlay his experience as amateur pilot into a full-time profession. Yet in the late 1990s, he slowly started getting in touch with old musical friends at musicians’ hangs like Jazz at Pearl’s in North Beach. Since retiring as a pilot, he’s devoted himself to jazz again. With his captivating quartet he’s ready for his second act. His new CD, Pivot Point, is a major waypoint in his lifetime journey.